July 8, 1996

KSC Contact: George H. Diller

The Space Shuttle will be rolled back from the launch pad if there is a possibility that wind could exceed a sustained velocity of 60 knots (69 mph). Rollback of the Space Shuttle from the pad to the Vehicle Assembly Building must be complete before the wind reaches 40 knots (46 mph) sustained, 60 knots (69 mph) in gusts with no lightning within 20 nautical miles.

The Orbiter Processing Facility is designed to withstand winds of 105 mph, the VAB and launch pads 125 mph, the payload facilities and other flight hardware facilities, 110 mph. The rotating service structure cannot be moved if the wind exceeds 40 knots (46 mph).

Preparations for rollback normally begin 48 hours before rollback weather constraints are expected to be reached. This period may be as long as 72 hours if more than one Space Shuttle is involved in the rollback plans or if the payloads require spacecraft servicing.

If a launch countdown is in progress, a downrange weather advisory will be issued by the Shuttle Weather Officer to the Mission Management Team for their consideration if the wind in the solid rocket booster recovery area is forecast to exceed a sustained velocity of 26 knots (30 mph) during retrieval operations. Seas in excess of Sea State 5 (8-13 feet) may also be a factor considered by the Mission Management Team.

The Center Director, in coordination with the Commander of the 45th Space Wing, will establish when a Hurricane Condition status is to be declared at KSC and later upgraded when conditions warrant. These decisions are made in consultation with the Range Weather Operations Facility and the KSC Emergency Preparedness Officer. The KSC Hurricane Control Center will be activated 72 hours before winds are forecast to reach a sustained velocity of 50 knots (58 mph). The KSC Emergency Preparedness Officer is responsible for directing hurricane associated activities from this facility until after the storm.

Condition IV: expect sustained 50 knot winds within 72 hours. When a condition IV is declared, implementation of procedures in the KSC Hurricane Plan will begin. Designated personnel will continue with their normally assigned duties but will also be available for duties associated with hurricane preparations.

Condition III: expect sustained 50 knot winds within 48 hours. During Condition III, designated personnel will be relieved of their normal duties as required for hurricane preparations and securing will begin. At the discretion of the Center Director, non-essential personnel may be sent home at this time.

Condition II: expect sustained 50 knot winds within 24 hours. When Condition II is declared, the Ride-Out Crew who are designated to remain at KSC in critical facilities during the hurricane shall be notified of responsibility.

Condition I: expect sustained 50 knot winds within 12 hours. Securing of all facilities should be completed during this time. In Condition I, all ingress and egress to KSC shall cease at a time determined by the KSC Center Director. All gates will be closed and the Hurricane Ride-Out crew will be on station until the "all clear" is given.

Categories of Hurricanes:
CategoryWindStorm Surge
Category 174-95 mph4-5 feet
Category 296-110 mph6-8 feet
Category 3111-130 mph9-12 feet
Category 4131-155 mph13-19 feet
Category 5greater than 155 mphgreater than 19 feet